Monthly Archives: May 2021

May 31, 2021

This morning we delayed our walk with the dog in the Bear Creek Greenbelt until mid-morning, when the rain finally eased up.  The skies were still overcast, the temperature 50 degrees.

We had just started down the gentle slope into the greenbelt when we saw the first of at least eight Western Wood-pewees.  This one was just above Hodgson Ditch.  We saw a few more along Bear Creek and a few more at the pond that never freezes.

Western Wood-pewee

Western Wood-pewee

Three Say’s Phoebes were patrolling a prairie dog town.  Here’s one:

Say’s Phoebe

At another prairie dog town my better half spotted a Killdeer, which was doing its best to run off a Black-billed Magpie.

Here’s a Common Grackle above the pond that never freezes:

Common Grackle

We walked through wet knee-high grass to get a glimpse of the Red-tailed Hawk nestling:

Red-tailed Hawk nestling

At a tree that’s normally frequented these days by Mourning Doves three nondescript birds–gray birds against a pale gray sky–were flitting from branch to branch.  Warbling Vireos!

Warbling Vireo

May 30, 2021

It rained overnight.  This morning was cool and cloudy in the Bear Creek Greenbelt, and more rain is forecast in the afternoon.  We saw a variety of birds–among them, a Lazuli Bunting (first of year!), a Gray Catbird, a Yellow-breasted Chat, and a Western Wood-pewee–but no ducklings.

Manky Mallard

Western Wood-pewee

May 29, 2021

This morning I joined a bird walk led by Joey Kellner at Chatfield State Park.  It was a beautiful morning, and the first half of the walk was particularly birdy and loud with the sounds of birds:  Broad-tailed Hummingbirds, House Wrens, Yellow-breasted Chats, Gray Catbirds, Bullock’s Orioles.

We spotted a Great Horned Owl early on the walk:

Great Horned Owl

A sharp-eyed birder pointed out a Broad-tailed Hummingbird on a nest:

Broad-tailed Hummingbird

Joey found a milk snake:

Milk snake

Mule deer

Great Horned Owlet on nest

Rock Wren (at the dam)

May 28, 2021

You never know what you’ll see in the Bear Creek Greenbelt . . . or who’s watching you.

Here’s a well-hidden deer not too far from the Bear Creek Trail just west of the footbridge:

Mule Deer

May 26, 2021

After work we walked to the pond by Stone House in the Bear Creek Greenbelt to see if we could find the Hooded Mergansers.  At first we spotted only a lone adult female.  Then we saw mama Hooded Merganser with a single duckling.

Hooded Merganser with duckling

Mama Hooded Merganser with crawfish

Hooded Merganser duckling

May 25, 2021

On our early morning walk in the Bear Creek Greenbelt we watched a beaver swim down Hodgson Ditch and then crawl out to slip into Bear Creek.


It moved upstream and to the north bank.  Then it crawled over what’s left of the dam:

Beaver crawling over the remains of a dam

At the pond that never freezes a Belted Kingfisher was getting harassed by a Common Grackle.  Here it is in the morning light:

Belted Kingfisher

West of the pond that never freezes two juvenile Black-billed Magpies were exploring their environs.  Here’s one:

Juvenile Black-billed Magpie

On our afternoon walk, we saw five juvenile Black-billed Magpies in the same place we saw the one above.  Here’s one of them:

Black-billed Magpie

On nearly every walk these days we spot Mallard ducklings somewhere . . . usually west of the footbridge on either side of the paved trail, or in the pond that never freezes.  Here’s one in the pond that never freezes:

Mallard ducking

Back at home we’re seeing lots of juvenile House Finches, often being fed by adult males, such as this one:

House Finch


Behind the fence in the photograph above, there’s a prairie dog town with a dozen or more pups.

Prairie dog pups

Baby bunnies have appeared in our back yard:

Baby bunny

And at the nectar feeder on our back deck we’re getting visits from a male Broad-tailed Hummingbird and a female Black-chinned Hummingbird.  Here’s the latter:

Black-chinned Hummingbird

May 24, 2021

Usually we get hummingbirds at the nectar feeder on our back deck.  Here’s one from today:

Female Black-chinned Hummingbird

Today a female Bullock’s Oriole decided to check it out:

Bullock’s Oriole

Bullock’s Oriole

After work my better half and I walked the dog in the Bear Creek Greenbelt.  We saw a couple of Mallards with ducklings:

Mallard with ducklings

Mallard with duckling (in the pond that never freezes)

May 23, 2021

This morning none of the Great Horned Owlets was on the nest tree.  I took a quick look in the surrounding trees, but all I spotted was mama Great Horned Owl.  She was drying off after the overnight rain:

Great Horned Owl

I walked across Estes to the little pond on the corner.  Three remaining Hooded Merganser ducklings were sticking close together:

Hooded Merganser ducklings

Mama Hooded Merganser flew in after a few minutes:

Hooded Mergansers

The Red-tailed Hawk nestling perched on the nest:

Red-tailed Hawk nestling

May 22, 2021

This morning my better half and I saw a few first-of-season birds in the Bear Creek Greenbelt.

Black-chinned Hummingbird

Yellow-breasted Chat

Gray Catbird

We also saw two recently fledged Black-billed Magpies being fed by adults.  

Black-billed Magpie fledgling being fed by adult

Here’s a raccoon in the “raccoon condos”:


Other birds we saw:  a Western Wood-pewee, three Yellow Warblers, a few Blue Jays, several Song Sparrows, and larger numbers of Northern Flickers, Red-winged Blackbirds, and Common Grackles . . . plus Mallard parents with five ducklings in the pond that never freezes.  

May 21, 2021

A friend sent word that the second of the three Great Horned Owlets had fledged in the Bear Creek Greenbelt.  After work, my better half and I headed over east of Estes.

When we arrived, this is what we saw at the nest tree:

Great Horned Owlet

We watched it for a few minutes.  It didn’t move.  I started looking for the other owls, and found one sibling, mama, and papa.  Here’s papa:

Great Horned Owl

My better half called me back to the nest tree.  The nestling had picked up its head:

Great Horned Owlet

I let my friend know about the lethargic owlet.  My friend checked on it later in the afternoon and reported that it was fine.  Apparently owlets aren’t strong enough to sit up all the time, and so they lie down at times.

No Hooded Mergansers were at the little pond where I’d seen them the past few days.  However, we saw a kiting American Kestrel above the prairie dog field nearby, as well as this bird:

Say’s Phoebe